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  #681  
Old 01-27-2012, 06:36 AM
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Good point!
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  #682  
Old 01-27-2012, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by PrincessKaimi View Post
I love the complexity in that article! Many fine points in it, ChiaraC. Very informative.
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
Thank you ChiaraC For a really great explanation.
Early forenoon, and I'e already learned something new.
Thank you very much, Princess Kaimi and Muhler! There are so many various aspects to be considered in the matter of the Japanese succession, that it took me quite some time to understand them myself. I am very glad to find people here with whom I can share the explanations I have found.
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
Instersting survey, Grandduchess24, however....
If you dial a number of random households on any given day, throughout the day, who is more likely to answer, a woman or a man?
So I wonder if the survey is influenced by gender?

To put in the extreme; If you make a survey with the question: Should cannabis be legal? And ask 1.500 randomly selected people in and around Woodstock during the festival, you may end up with an interesting result!

So perhaps that survey is slightly biased, since women may be more inclined towards a female ruling empress.
You are definitely right, Muhler, in that women seem to be somewhat more in favour of a reigning empress than men. In 2005, there was a meeting of 30 LDP lawmakers, including about 20 men, who were among 83 LDP Lower House members called "Koizumi children." (They were called that because they were newly elected to the chamber in the September 2005 election, taking advantage of Koizumi's popularity.) It was reported that during that session „most of the men expressed negative views toward a female emperor and female lineage, while most women backed it.

Of course, one would have to consider that the LDP is a center-right party, that means that this group would not be a representative sample from the Japanese population either. This example only serves to show that there definitely seems to be a difference in opinion because of gender. But on the other hand, you are quite right, American Dane, there undoubtedly is an age gap in Japan (not only) as far as views on the imperial family are concerned. Elder people, men and women alike, tend to be more conservative.

Unfortunately, there are no more details in the article on how exactly the survey was conducted. It took place on a Saturday and Sunday which means that more men may have been at home than on weekdays. But if they really simply relied on random calls, they still might have ended up in talking to more women than men.

As I know those things from my own country, serious polling companies will always make a point of getting the opinions from a scientific sample of the population. If they intend to conduct, for example, 1000 interviews for their survey, they would stop asking women after they have spoken to 500 and would keep calling until they have also gotten the 500 men they need. („May I talk to your husband?“) Same for age and wealth/social status and maybe other relevant factors (political preferences, for example). („May I ask if your grandfather votes for the DPJ and if so, may I talk to him?“ )

But I have no idea if this is also done in Japan as a matter of routine. Neither would I be sure if the term „valid“ („The telephone survey drew valid responses“) would necessarily indicate that this was the case.
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Originally Posted by Grandduchess24 View Post
And the people of japan have spoken and I find it wonderful so maybe there will be an empress aiko in the future.
I agree in that if this change takes place, Aiko will have a bit of a bigger chance of getting empress. But imo her chance still remains a very small one. Perhaps it should be expressly said that if the Japanese support „the idea of allowing female members of the Imperial family to create their own branches of the family and to retain their Imperial status after marriage“, that does not necessarily mean that they also would prefer a reigning empress. It is possible that it is so, as polls after Hisahito´s birth showed around 60 % of remaining support for a reigning empress, but from the Kyodo News poll I have quoted we would not know that.

As the IHA told the prime minister, it is rather urgent to tackle the issue of the decrease of imperial family members because if all princesses marry and become commoners, there would not be sufficient people left to perform imperial duties. That means that it is very probable that something will be done about that in the near future. But if the princesses are allowed to create their own family branches that does not mean that they or their children will be given succession rights. Of course, there is a problem in that Hisahito is the only eligible heir in his generation, but imo the course of events has shown so far that changes concerning the imperial family will only take place if they are absolutely urgent and inevitable. It is not a question of a majority of the population favouring a change. Even IF there is such a majority, there is reason to believe that it will not happen as long as it is too controversial and politicians are afraid of losing votes if they address it. (One could also discuss if they might not even be justified in saving their energy for other important issues of which there is no lack presently in Japan.)
However, the Japan Times may eventually turn out to have been right in their fear that solutions to the succession crisis may turn out to be „too little, too late“.
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  #683  
Old 01-27-2012, 07:24 AM
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You made a very valid point in the last part of your post, ChiaraC.

If female members of the Imperial families become commoners when marrying a commoner. You can easily and suddenly end up in a situation where there are no male heirs to pick from, or just as omnious, there are no or very few spares left.
That is, with the right unbroken male bloodline. Then what?

Surely that must rank among the most compelling arguments for changing the law, at least in regards to men and the older and/or more conservative segments of the population.
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  #684  
Old 01-27-2012, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Grandduchess24 View Post
And the people of japan have spoken and I find it wonderful so maybe there will be an empress aiko in the future.
I hardly think a survey of a 1000 people in a country that has a population of 126 million accurately reflects what the majority think or want!!!

Also as it's been pointed out the survey asked should princesses remain in the Imperial Family and create their own house (something that no other female in Japan can do. They leave their father's family registry and when they marry a new family registry is created in their husband's name and they go onto that). There is no discussion as to a female Emperor or the possiblity of and Emperor (not Empress) Aiko. At the time of Hisahito's birth the female succession was put aside but there was a statement that in the future, princesses leaving the Imperial House needed to looked at. But there was no hurry and now 5 years later, it's the IHA that have asked parliament to change the law so that these princesses remain after marriage. (Naruhito and Akishino have had some input, they were asked for their views on the matter)

Some background, this survey appeared in the paper, the Japan Times (there's an online version as well). The Japan Times (along with the Daily Yomiuri and the Mainichi Daily) are newspapers written in English for the expat community (some Japanese do read them but mainly as a way to practise their English, they have English lessons in them as well as Japanese lessons for expats wanting to impove their Japanese) These expat newspapers are not read by the majority of the Japanese population who have numerous Japanese papers to buy and read. They also have a small readership and as I can attest at times hard to find unless you're in an area with a large expat community!

Telephoning households in the daytime in Japan would not result in getting mainly older women since few Japanese woman work after they marry and even less after they have children. Part-time work is rare, childcare is very scare and only fulltime if there is a place, and people work very long hours. Women give up work since it's not unusual for men to be posted to other parts of Japan and during the week they live in work dormitories and return home on the weekend. Many commute huge distances and so leave home before their children wake up in the morning and return after they go to sleep. Some jobs require employees to work a 6 day week so Saturday is called a 'holiday' for those who consider themselves lucky not to work that day. (I used to find it strange, "Saturday's not a holiday it's Saturday!") This is another reason why there are negative commentaries about Masako's level of work, the rest of the population work long hours and have few holidays.

Quote:
In 2005, there was a meeting of 30 LDP lawmakers, including about 20 men, who were among 83 LDP Lower House members called "Koizumi children." (They were called that because they were newly elected to the chamber in the September 2005 election, taking advantage of Koizumi's popularity.) It was reported that during that session „most of the men expressed negative views toward a female emperor and female lineage, while most women backed it.
The majority of these 'Koizumi children' lost their seats in the following elections. And there are currently fewer women in parliament than there were in the late 1940s after women were first given the vote.

The parliament will probably pass the law allowing princesses to remain, there aren't a lot of options if the Imperial Family is to continue with their official functions. But the succession issue is not one of major importance for the Japanese currently. It's a little side issue that interests the foreign media but the Japanese are more concerned with their economic problems, the fall in their exports, joblosses, the fact that university graduates cannot find jobs. The safety of their food. These are the things that are important to the Japanese not the succession in the Imperial Family and whether princesses remain in or out after marriage.
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  #685  
Old 01-27-2012, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
You made a very valid point in the last part of your post, ChiaraC.

If female members of the Imperial families become commoners when marrying a commoner. You can easily and suddenly end up in a situation where there are no male heirs to pick from, or just as omnious, there are no or very few spares left.
That is, with the right unbroken male bloodline. Then what?

Surely that must rank among the most compelling arguments for changing the law, at least in regards to men and the older and/or more conservative segments of the population.
Well, as I understand it the idea is presently to only change Articles 12 and 15 of the The Imperial Household Law. Article 12 says:
Quote:
In case a female of the Imperial Family marries a person other than the Emperor or a member of the Imperial Family, she shall lose the status of Imperial Family member.
Articles 15 says:
Quote:
Any person outside the Imperial Family and his or her descendants shall not become a member thereof except in the cases where a female becomes Empress or marries a member of the Imperial Family.
If they change Article 12, imperial princesses will be able to retain their status after marriage, and if they change Article 15, their husbands will become imperial princes. But that does not mean that they would automatically get succession rights as long as Article 1 is not amended that says:
Quote:
The Imperial Throne of Japan shall be succeeded to by male descendants in the male line of Imperial Ancestors.
I am not quite sure but it seems to me that this difference between getting imperial status and getting succession rights comes unexpected from a European perspective because even, for example, in the Habsburg family with their Salic law, female members did have succession rights and had to formally renounce them upon marriage. Japanese princesses, in contrast, do not have to renounce their succession right because they never had one from the start.

I think the dilemma with an amendment of Article 1 is that if they change the order of succession at all they hardly can help making Aiko the successor. Whether they choose male primogeniture or equal primogeniture, it would always be Aiko because she has no brother. Theoretically, they could take refuge to a Semi-Salic version of succession order. This means that „firstly all male descendance is applied, including all collateral male lines; but if all agnates become extinct, then the closest heiress (such as a daughter) of the last male holder of the property inherits, and after her, her own male heirs according to the Salic order.“ Source

In the case of Japan, that would mean that if Hisahito should die without offspring, his elder sister, Princess Mako, would succeed. But there is really no precedent for such a rule in Japanese history, and it would be very difficult indeed to explain why, in the 21st century, Japan adapts an outdated relic from the European past. So I really do not think this will get to be even considered.

I suppose that moderate traditionalists think that they can afford not to change the succession line and to have but one eligible heir because if anything bad should befall Hisahito, there would still be time to change the succession law, given the fact that there are his uncle and his father who will come before him. (Radical traditionalists propose to reestablish former branches of the imperial family.) But that also means that Hisahito and especially his poor wife-to-be will be under huge pressure to have children before his uncle and his father pass away.

In 1993, when the crown prince married Masako Owada, 74 per cent of women said in a poll they „would not like to marry into the imperial family because of the lack of privacy and burden of palace restrictions“.

I wonder how many will have come to share this view when Hisahito will set out to find himself a bride. Let me make a guess: 99,9 per cent?
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  #686  
Old 01-27-2012, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
A Kyodo News poll, conducted on Jan. 7 and 8, 2012, showed 65.5 percent of the Japanese support the idea of allowing female members of the Imperial family to create their own branches of the family and to retain their Imperial status after marriage. The telephone survey drew valid responses from 1,016 eligible voters in 1,459 households randomly dialed across Japan, apart from parts of Fukushima Prefecture evacuated by the nuclear crisis. Japan Times article
FYI, 1000 people (if chosen in the right way!) can be quite sufficient, according to experts:

HOW POLLS ARE CONDUCTED
Quote:
The process of polling is often mysterious, particularly to those who don't see how the views of 1,000 people can represent those of hundreds of millions. […]
One key question faced by Gallup statisticians: how many interviews does it take to provide an adequate cross-section of Americans? The answer is, not many -- that is, if the respondents to be interviewed are selected entirely at random, giving every adult American an equal probability of falling into the sample. The current US adult population in the continental United States is 187 million. The typical sample size for a Gallup poll which is designed to represent this general population is 1,000 national adults. [...]
For example, with a sample size of 1,000 national adults, (derived using careful random selection procedures), the results are highly likely to be accurate within a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
THE GALLUP ORGANIZATION
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  #687  
Old 01-28-2012, 03:36 PM
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The government will start hearings in February on legal amendments to allow female members of the imperial family to retain their status after they marry commoners. [...]
It also said females should be allowed to retain their imperial family status even after marriage to start a new branch, unlike the current arrangement.
Source

Incidentally: although the idea to let female members head family branches is new to the imperial family, it is not new to the Japanese people in general. Traditionally, there were the marriage customs of muko yōshi (婿養子) and nyūfu (入夫).
A mukoyōshi (literally "adopted son-in-law") is a man who is adopted into a family as a daughter's husband who takes the family's surname and becomes head of the family. A nyūfu is a husband who joins his wife´s family while the wife remains head of the family.

For nyūfu I could not find a good link in English, but the Google-translation of this German website is imo rather decent. Just take a look at the paragraph. „Types of marriage“. Usually, there existed more mukoyōshi than nyūfu marriages.

In the past (before the Meiji restoration in 1868), mukoyōshi marriages were quite important and, especially among common people, even after Meiji time. But the proportion of both forms of marriage declined gradually to virtual insignificance until 1940. In 1975, a mere 1,2 per cent of husbands took their wife´s last name upon marriage.

Takie Sugiyama Lebra says in her book „Japanese women: constraint and fulfillment“:
Quote:
While preference for patrilineality existed prior to the Meiji era, particularly in the upper class, its preponderance among common people seems to be a more recent phenomenon. Older informants recall the prevalence of succession by the oldest child regardless of sex. Fusa, born in 1900 (the thirty-third year of Meiji) said: „In those days, if you were the first-born daughter, it was customary that you succeed the ie [that means, you stay in the house and continue the family line] even if you had a brother. It was long after the Meiji restoration that it became male line only.“ She herself, as the first-born, was nominated as atotori [successor], and her parents were adamant on this decision even when a younger brother was born. This custom worked only if there were enough candidates for mukoyōshi. […] Mukoyōshi marriage usually went hand in hand with daughter succession and uxorilocal residence [„uxorilocal“ means that the married couple lives in the home of the wife] [...]

It is interesting to find that partners in mukoyōshi marriage are overrepresented among schoolteachers […] It was noted previously that a daughter destined to marry a mukoyōshi tended to be well educated. This may have resulted in her taking a teaching job, one of the few respectable occupations for women.
Although the Civil Code nowadays recognizes but one form of marriage, it sometimes still does happen that women head a family and have their own koseki (family register), as is mentioned here:

Quote:
Women can also have their own koseki in the case of muko-yoshi, when a man is "adopted" by the family of the his wife. […] When a non-Japanese marries a Japanese, the non-Japanese is listed as the spouse, but the head of household must remain the Japanese partner, regardless of gender.
See also this article about a variation of a popular tv format, bringing together single men and women for the purpose of making couples:
Quote:
On tonight's "Sunday Special" (TV Tokyo, 7 p.m.), the matchmaking theme is gyaku-tama. Gyaku means "reverse," and tama is taken from the phrase tama no koshi, which refers to a poor woman marrying a rich man. In other words, what we have here is poor men looking for rich wives.

More specifically, young women who happen to be the only children in families that own profitable businesses. That means any man who marries one of these women is automatically a muko-yoshi, meaning a man who marries into a family business and, thus, takes his wife's name rather than vice versa.
As tradition is quoted so often as a reason in favour or against any changes regarding the imperial family, I thought I should mention this.
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  #688  
Old 01-28-2012, 04:05 PM
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Thank you very much ChiaraC for your most interesting article - all quite new to me
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:24 PM
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You mean the “No Empress for Japan?”-article, Nice Nofret? I am very glad to hear
that.

I have just told a friend that in this forum (and just about everywhere where people discuss the IF) one question will come up again and again (as sure as death and
taxes ): why the Japanese seem to have such a hard time with their succession law and why it is such a problem to let women ascend even when there are so few young male members in the imperial family. Whenever I have read such a question in the past, I have always thought: “Oh my God, where to even begin with answering?” That is why I have finally written this article.

I am very pleased to hear that it helps. Thank you!
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  #690  
Old 01-30-2012, 02:26 AM
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Royal challenge awaits Noda | The Japan Times Online
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda appears strongly committed to revising the Imperial Household Law to let female members of the Imperial family remain in the royal family even if they marry commoners. The Imperial family is the oldest royal family in the world and Chapter 1 of the Japanese Constitution is about the emperors. For Japan, to ensure stable imperial succession is an important matter.
But much doubt has been expressed about his ability to implement such a revision, which could potentially split public opinion down the middle, because he already faces a large number of urgent and sometimes controversial issues [...].
In an attempt to maintain the Imperial male line, former Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki, aired the idea that "The most appropriate way would be to legalize creation of a branch of the Imperial family headed by a female member on condition that if she marries a commoner, that branch would last only for one generation, and that if she marries a male descendant of former Imperial family members, that branch would be made permanent." This idea must clear such issues as the constitutional principle that marriage must be based on consent between a man and a woman.
Meanwhile, Prince Akishino, second in the line of succession, said at a press conference Nov. 30, on his 46th birthday, that his own opinions and those of the Crown Prince should be taken into consideration in discussing the future of the Imperial family. The comment has been taken as an indirect complaint against the government's move to amend the Imperial Household Law without consulting the Imperial family members.
Indeed, the advisory body created by Koizumi in 2005 never sought views from any member of the Imperial family. The late former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said in an interview with the Sankei Shimbun that although he twice called on Teijiro Furukawa, former deputy chief Cabinet secretary and a member of the panel, to seek opinions from the Imperial family members, his requests were turned down both times.
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:50 PM
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It is great that the Japanese government has decided to take steps to revise the rules to address the current and future issue around the succession laws.
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:06 PM
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The Democratic Party lawmaker Yasuo Ichikawa who is known for his refusal to attend the state banquet during the Bhutani royal visit is appointed the head of the governmental commitee on the Imperial succession of the House of Councillors (Upper House) of DIET. Ichikawa has replaced Justice Minister Toshio Ogawa, who had become vice chairman of the House of Councillors on January 30th, 2012.

Hirofumi Nakasone MP from the LDP Upper House has critisized the appointment: "How can a person who refused the invitation of the Emperor make any of such important decisions related to the Imperial family". - Source
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:38 PM
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I know I have said this before. But I will say it again because we have here such a nice example of what I mean: it is always up to you to decide what you believe of the reports regarding the imperial family. And what not.

Regarding Prince Akishino´s request that his and the crown prince´s opinions about the future of the imperial family should be considered by the Diet, this article maintains that his remark „has been taken as an indirect complaint against the government's move to amend the Imperial Household Law without consulting the Imperial family members.“

On the other hand, it is said in this article:
Quote:
The Emperor himself is reported to be in favor of changes that would at least allow for princesses to retain their Imperial status after marriage. However, he cannot openly advocate anything without violating the constitutional prohibition on his involvement in government.
If the emperor is in favour of the changes, as is said here, it is not very probable that he is unhappy about the government´s plans to realize them, is it? That means either the first article is right. Or the second. But not both, obviously.

Of course, it is but a rumour that the emperor approves of the planned revision. He has never publicly said that (and he never would), so you are not obliged to believe it. But, frankly, to me, it sounds credible. After all, it was Shingo Haketa, grand steward of the IHA, who visited Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at his office on October 5 of last year and told him that it was an urgent matter to do something about the status of the princesses. It is imo impossible that Haketa would have done this without informing the emperor previously and I, for one, even doubt that he would have considered doing this without the emperor´s consent. And if there were certain details that the emperor wanted to inform the Prime Minister about, concerning the way in which these changes should take place, Haketa´s visit was an ideal opportunity to accomplish that.

Japanese experts on these matters seem to think so, too. After Prince Akishino had made his remarks, Noriho Urabe, professor emeritus at Kobe University, said, obviously with some amazement, that the opinions of the Emperor and other members of the Imperial family should have nothing to do with how the Imperial family system should work.
Quote:
"The Emperor is not supposed to express his opinions in public forums, which also should be applied for other members of the Imperial family," Urabe said, citing two stipulations of the Constitution that the Emperor's position derives from the will of the people, and that he shall not have powers related to government. Nonetheless, Urabe backed an idea that members of the Imperial family could express their opinions mainly through the Imperial Household Agency to help facilitate discussions on the Imperial family system. Urabe's opinion has been received positively by Itsuo Sonobe, an expert on the system and former Supreme Court justice, who described the Imperial House Law as "a family law for the Imperial family in its nature." "I don't think it would be a problem for the government and the Diet to indirectly seek opinions [from members of the Imperial family]," he said.
If you believe like me that the emperor approves of the upcoming changes, that would mean the conjecture that Prince Akishino remarks indicated that "imperial family members" wished "to complain" because they had not been asked to comment would be clearly wrong. Except if you substitute "imperial family members" by "Prince Akishino". Maybe the prince thought that he should have been asked for his personal opinion and felt offended that this had not been the case.

It is possible that when Prince Akishino publicly told the Diet to heed his opinion (or that of his brother, for decency´s sake ), he simply got run away with a feeling of self-importance and said some things that he would never have said if he had consulted his father first. Which would also explain the fact that his birthday press conference was unusually long, about double the originally scheduled time.
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Old 02-14-2012, 12:49 PM
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A recent Japan Times web poll asked readers which of five optional changes they would like to see occurring in Japan first. The voting was as follows:
  1. 30 % said the most important change would be the accession of a woman to the imperial throne,
  2. 24% opted for a plan to phase out nuclear power plants
  3. 22% opined that there should be put an end to whaling
  4. 16% voted for a female prime minister
  5. 8% said non-Japanese residents should be given voting rights.
It is important to mention that this was not a poll representative of the Japanese population in general as it addressed readers of the English language publication Japan Times. Nevertheless, the order of importance seems highly remarkable to me. It has been said in this forum (also by me) that the Japanese may be facing more serious problems at present than the imperial succession. Still, at least the readers of the Japan Times think that the accession of a female tenno would be more important than even a plan to phase out nuclear power plants, a concern that probably has gained considerable weight after last year´s nuclear catastrophe.
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:14 PM
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Emperor’s Surgery Highlights Scarcity of Eligible Japanese Heirs

Quote:
Akihito’s grandson Hisahito in 2006 became the first male born into the family in more than four decades, increasing the number of potential heirs to three. “By the time he assumes the throne, he will be the imperial family,” Colin Jones, a law professor at Doshisha University in Kyoto, said of the 5-year-old prince. “You’re looking at a future where the imperial family consists of a single nuclear family. That’s problematic in that, if he doesn’t have a son, then what do you do?

Crown Prince Naruhito, 51, will serve as regent during his father’s surgery and convalescence. Naruhito, who has one daughter, is next in line to the throne, followed by his 46- year-old brother, Prince Akishino, and nephew Hisahito. […] The matter is “of great priority in assuring the stability of the activities of the imperial family,” Noda said at a press conference. “We are currently considering how we should move forward.” He has made no mention of altering the law to allow women to ascend the throne. […]

Without reforms, there may not be a backup plan if Hisahito doesn’t have a son or is incapacitated. While the emperor’s role is mostly symbolic, Japan’s constitution requires him to perform tasks including appointing the prime minister and promulgating laws passed by the Diet. “Monarchies have extended families just so that there’s a source of spares,” Doshisha’s Jones said. “Over time there will be no other members of the imperial family to act as proxies.” […]

Lawmakers will need to resolve the succession issue soon, since it may be too late to do so by the time Hisahito becomes emperor, Jones said. “They can’t just suddenly conjure up new imperials,” he said. “They’ve got to do something now.”
Bloomberg.com
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:01 PM
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That sounds serious!

A reform seems somewhat overdue.

How many adults are there at present in the Imperial Family, who can represent the Emperor and Japan? That is adults who are both reasonably young and in good health? I.e. between 20 and 70?

No need to make a list, just an estimate will do.
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:38 PM
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There are more princesses than there are princes and if there are only 3 to inherit the throne then that's a problem.
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  #698  
Old 02-16-2012, 04:38 PM
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Didn't some politicians suggest using concubines, at least as far as Naruhito is concerned?
I thought there was some mention of this recently.
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
That sounds serious!

A reform seems somewhat overdue.

How many adults are there at present in the Imperial Family, who can represent the Emperor and Japan? That is adults who are both reasonably young and in good health? I.e. between 20 and 70?

No need to make a list, just an estimate will do.
That list will be short... To answer your question, just take a look at the Genealogy of the Imperial Family.

If the persons who would step in for the emperor have to be male (which under the current succession law makes sense), there would be five of them. But I have to add that this is a VERY generous count. The emperor´s brother, Prince Hitachi is already 76, his cousin Prince Katsura (born in 1948) has been paralyzed from the waist down since suffering a series of strokes in May 1988 and uses a wheelchair and his other cousin, Prince Tomohito of Mikasa (while „but“ 66) has serious health problems himself: He has been suffering from cancer since 2003. In 2007, the prince made a public announcement that he was suffering from alcoholism, and was undergoing treatments at the Imperial Household Agency hospital. In March 2008, he underwent surgery for cancer in his pharynx. Although attempts were made to save his voice, I think he is still unable to speak properly.

Discounting those three, it is basically only the crown prince and Prince Akishino who could fill in for the emperor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirabel View Post
Didn't some politicians suggest using concubines, at least as far as Naruhito is concerned?
I thought there was some mention of this recently.
Not really. I do suspect that there WERE politicians of the ultraright who secretly were much in favour of concubines. But the only guy who was actually stupid enough to explicitly say so was the aforementioned Prince Tomohito of Mikasa. In a letter, he wrote that in former times there had been the institution of concubinage to solve succession problems and that he was “all for it” but that it would be a bit difficult, considering the public opinion. (See this Telegraph article, for example.) Afterwards he maintained that his statement had never been meant to get public and that it had been but a joke.
Well...

But, as I said, I have the impression that there are in fact other Japanese (albeit a very small minority) who agree with him. It seems to me that for example this young financial trader quoted by the BBC (Head to head: Japan's royal birth) would be just fine with concubines although he would not openly admit it...
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:03 PM
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Three then. And the Emperor himself is old and his health isn't too good.

That's critically few. It only takes a tragedy and a scandal - and then there were none...

In that situation, wouldn't it be acceptable that a woman stepped in from time to time? Say in case Naruhito is ill and Akishino is away on an official visit.
They do after all have plenty of female cousins, who are still Princesses.
Is it impossible to imagine that say Princess Akiko stepped in and everyone quietly overlooked the protocol and traditions?
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